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Top executives ?on the move

Opinion Piece
Editorial

Two of New Zealand’s top corporate executives resigned last week in contrasting circumstances, leaving doubts as to whether there was more than the public was being told.

That was certainly true of ANZ chief executive David Hisco, who stepped down from his role at New Zealand’s biggest bank after an internal audit into his expenses spending — which included $50,000 for wine storage, without proper disclosures, and chauffeur-driven limousines for personal activity.

The interesting thing is the way ANZ tried what many believe was a cover-up. In May the company announced that Hisco was taking leave because of ill health, but the internal review had already started.

ANZ had the perfect man to weather this storm in former prime minister Sir John Key, who heads its board. It was a major test even for “Teflon John”, though, who was a friend of Hisco and sold him a house.

Hisco was a successful boss for ANZ New Zealand, the annual profit of which rose to $2 billion during his eight years in charge. That makes it all the more surprising that the country’s highest paid CEO should be brought down in this way, forfeiting rights to $6.4 million in ANZ equity earned over his career.

It is a different story for Christopher Luxon, who took Air New Zealand to its highest profit ever two years ago. The 49-year-old, who heads the Government’s Business Advisory Council, has said he is considering standing for National as he would like to use his skills, abilities and experience to make a further contribution to the success of New Zealand.

Probably the quirkiest story last week was the news that Israel Folau had opened a GoFundMe page seeking contributions to his legal battle with the Australian Rugby Board, after his sacking over anti-gay social media posts.

Folau is a multi-millionaire but there are estimates his legal costs could reach $3 million if the case goes all the way to the Australian High Court.

Despite scathing criticism from former Wallaby team mates and media commentators, Folau’s fund had already reached $NZ640,000 yesterday — with more than 8500 people donating.